The Israeli Cabinet convened on Sunday morning to vote on across-the-board cuts to accommodate the addition of new ministries to the 35th government, the largest in the country’s history, with 34 ministers.
The ministries are being established as part of the national-unity deal between Likud, headed by Prime Minister Netanyahu, and Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz, who is now serving as vice premier and defense minister.
The new ministries include: Water Resources, Higher Education, Settlement Affairs, Digital and Cyber, Minority Affairs and Community Strengthening and Advancement.
The proposed budget cuts include a reduction of approximately NIS 9.4 million ($2.7 million) to the Prime Minister’s Office; NIS 8.8 million ($2.5 million) to the Finance Ministry; NIS 1.3 million ($371,000) to the Interior Ministry; NIS 8.4 million ($2.4 million) to the Justice Ministry; NIS 11.4 million ($3.3 million) to the Foreign Ministry; NIS 14 million ($4 million) to the Defense Ministry; NIS 9.7 million to the Education Ministry ($2.8 million); NIS 3.6 million ($1 million) to the Welfare Ministry; NIS 4.3 million ($1.2 million) to the Health Ministry; NIS 5.5 ($1.6 million) to the Agriculture Ministry and NIS 3.7 million ($1.1 million) to the Transportation Ministry.
The size of the new government has been widely criticized for its having been established during the coronavirus crisis, which has left 25 percent of Israelis unemployed.